For the first, I am absolutely average computer user. Nothing special…Really!
I changed to Linux ca. two years ago. The reason I’ve changed was actually funny –
I couldn’t stand the green, start button in WindowsXP… LOL
(Let’s face it – “green button” was just “last drop” – the real reason was the lack of possibility to make my PC working as I wanted it to work… )

Getting back to “our ram’s” – so, I installed my first Linux distro… It was Kanotix. Installation, after reading the manual, was easy, “simply a breeze”… The problems for the n00b like me started afterwards – I couldn’t live up to the pace of upgrades, unfortunately… 😦 But I did not give up – second step was Ubuntu… Absolutely easy! One thing you have to admit – Ubuntu devs and Community are simply brilliant as to dealing with new-beginners, refugees from Windows camp… 😉 And I was a happy Ubuntu user – in fact – Xubuntu!, which was more to my taste.. – for nearly half a year… Then I began to ask myself – is it really what I was looking for? Hm, not especially. As mentioned before – Ubuntu and derivatives are splendid… at the beginning… For some persons – they are not enough – “easiness” of *buntus has its own price – some limitations… At least Ubuntu was a bit too limiting for me – too less information about command line interface (CLI!), too less command line tools. This way, after the loooong period of searching (“distro-hopping”) I became a user of Debian Sid – namely sidux – since its first release: Chaos. Because, you see, for the second, I started to get acquainted with the command line – and here the story begins 😉

The power of Linux on the desktop is not in the “cubes” or other (interesting!) experiments with graphical interface, no, not for me! The real value of it “lays” in the possibility of instant and constant using command line and text applications. Why? Because if you miss some functionality – at the end you can… write it yourself!This way computer acts as it was supposed to – is INTERACTIVE! What’s more – text tools are usually very light on resources, so you can take an advantage of famous Linux multitasking ability without any problem. And last but not least – those applications are getting out of your way – not disturbing you while you are doing something constructive like writing, editing, reading, etc on your computer. Shortly speaking – computer is the tool it was in its earliest assumptions to be – interactive, efficient and personal. In CLI.

Having said that – I strongly encourage all of you, by mistake or by purpose reading those lines, to “make friends” with the command line on your Linux box. It’s not true that so called “learning curve” is steep. If I could do this – you can do this, too! (Remember – I am totally average person, without any technical background – opposite – I am humanist…). The only difficult task is overcoming your anxiety, nothing else…

Helpful tips for CLI beginners:

-learn to TAB – that is: to type in terminal or console only the beginning of the command and then – press the TAB button – you will get an advantage of so called “tab completion” – your terminal will finish typing for you! (this way you can also check if the command tool exist on your box!)

-read some excellent howto’es on using command line tools for beginners: I strongly recommend you this manual : http://linuxcommand.org/ – although there are thousends of others available around (type: linux shell bash – in the search field of Google, for example 😉 )

-while reading – try out the commands yourself (I keep always opened terminal aside while reading tutorials)

-“make friends” with one of the available on Linux text editors: vim, emacs, nano etc – my recommendation is vim! (before using – go through tutorial – simply type vimtutor in the command line, then – print out for yourself this “cheat sheet” – http://www.viemu.com/a_vi_vim_graphical_cheat_sheet_tutorial.html). My modest suggestion: try also vim tips given here: http://princ3.wordpress.com/tag/vim/ by princ3 (his blog includes also some other useful tips for command line users!) – very valuable!

-if you like reading feeds – subscribe to following blogs: http://vertito.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss – splendid command line tutorials by Linux Administrator, Vertito! Short but comprehensive explanations, this guy knows what he is writing about! 🙂 , http://commandline.org.uk/feed/ – Command Line Warrior, very good reading, too – check his archive!, http://linux.byexamples.com/feed/ – Linux by Examples – very nice tips! – again try their tips and tutorials yourself!

-read configuration files of applications available on your Linux machine – this way you will start to understand how applications are working. You can also try to edit some configuration files – my first one was .conkyrc… ;).

-try out some text-mode applications instead of GUI ones: newsbeuter for reading rss feeds, mutt for reading emails, elinks for browsing Internet, centericq (or centerim) for instant messaging, mpd+mpc+ncmpc for listening to the music and so on…

-and last but not least: try out some commands for completing usual computer tasks like fi.: wget for downloading files from the Net, gphoto2 for downloading pictures from your camera, lftp for uploading those pictures to your web site,etc

This should be enough for the beginning! 😉 …and hopefully after short period, you will realize that you actually prefer text tools…, perhaps even – you cannot live without them! LOL You will get enchanted by the power of magic – magic of CLI…

Happy sorcering,

tami 🙂

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